At the risk of sounding like a broken record, March set another heat record for the globe, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said, adding that global temperature records were piling up as the earth continues to warm and is influenced by phenomena such as El Niño.
It said in its latest report that the combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for March 2016 was the highest for this month in the 1880–2016 record, at 1.22°C (2.20°F) above the 20th century average of 12.7°C (54.9°F).
This surpassed the previous record set in 2015 by 0.32°C / (0.58°F), and marks the highest monthly temperature departure among all 1,635 months on record, surpassing the previous all-time record set just last month by 0.01°C (0.02°F).
March also marked the 11th consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken, and is the longest such streak in NOAA’s 137-year climate record.
The globally averaged sea surface temperature for the year to date was also highest on record, surpassing the same period in 1998, the last time a similar strength El Niño occurred, the report said.
The Arctic was also impacted by record global heat. Arctic sea ice reached its maximum extent for the year at 5.61 million square miles March 24, the lowest annual maximum extent in the satellite record. This was 431,000 square miles below average and 5,000 square miles below the previous record from 2015.
Most of Earth’s land surfaces were warmer than average or much warmer than average, with record warmth notable across eastern Brazil, most of eastern and central Africa, much of southeastern Asia, and large portions of northern and eastern Australia.
Most of northwestern Canada and Alaska, along with vast regions of northern and western Asia, observed temperatures at least 3°C (5°F) above their 1981–2010 average. Far northeastern Canada, parts of northwestern Africa, and a region of south central South America were cooler than average, the NOAA said.